Census data carries political implications


EAST PEORIA (WEEK) — 2020 Census data confirmed what many expected, Illinois will lose a seat in congress. Now, state leaders will continue an intense legal battle over how state legislature districts should be drawn.

University of Illinois professor Dr. Kent Redfield said with Democrats in control, they will not have much difficulty making sure it is a Republican that loses their district.

“They’re really not going to care whether they’re putting communities, traditional communities of interest in the same congressional district or separating them across three congressional districts,” said Redfield.

Even with Democrats in control of that process, Redfield said there will be some infighting over what move would be best for their party.

“It’s a very high risk politically to guess what’s the best choices,” he noted.

Where Dems will face difficulties is the map for their own districts. Earlier this year, Democrats passed a new legislative map based on estimates of what the state’s population would be. Republicans, like Peoria’s Rep. Ryan Spain, were not happy.

“Elections have consequences and political games and gerrymandering also have consequences,’ he said back in May.

Republicans have since sued over the map, and it will be up to a judge to decide if Democrats can keep their map or draw up an entirely new one that is based on the real data.

“Now it’s kind of a race in terms of either perfecting the map or deciding the map will pass muster,” said Redfield.

The UIS professor expects maps to be finalized by December.

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